Known for making acclaimed speakers, Harman Kardon has unveiled their new Amazon Alexa challenger called the Invoke. However, their new speaker won’t have Alexa built-in, instead Microsoft’s Cortana will hitch a ride on the Invoke.  Cortana is Microsoft’s equivalent to Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa. Combined, Cortana and Invoke could make a formidable duo. Harman has the best audio pedigree of all the current smart speaker makers, so it’s possible that the Invoke could turn out to be the best sounding smart speaker yet. And based on the specs released by Harman, this may just be the case.

Harman Kardon Invoke

The Invoke will come loaded with three woofers and three tweeters and be able to broadcast audio 360 degrees. In comparison, Amazon’s Echo only has one woofer and one tweeter. To communicate with Cortana, the Invoke will have a seven-microphone far-field listening array.

 

Microsoft has rolled out Cortana on a multitude of products including Windows 10 laptops and desktops as well as Android and iOS devices, but this is the first time Cortana has made its way onto a smart speaker.

 

The Invoke will have one additional ace up its sleeve. The speaker will support voice calling via Skype. Coincidentally, Microsoft owns Skype so it’s not too surprising to see it pop-up on the Invoke. However, voice calling could give it a major leg up on the competition.

 

Harman Kardon hasn’t revealed the price for the Invoke yet, but since $200 is the sweet spot for this type of device, it would be a little shocking if the speaker cost more than that. The Invoke is expected to be released sometime this fall in the U.S. so hopefully, Harman will release further details as the launch date nears. With Microsoft now expanding into the smart speaker space, is Apple next? We’ll have to wait and see.

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